(Resolved) Error exporting to PDF/A from all Office 365 apps

Resolved on 28 December 2019. See the solution below.


Every time I try to export something to PDF/A from any of the Office 365 apps, I encounter an error.

Microsoft Word: Sorry, we couldn't find your file. Was it moved, renamed, or deleted?

Microsoft Excel: Document not saved. The document may be open, or an error may have been encountered when saving.

Microsoft PowerPoint: An error occurred while PowerPoint was saving the file.

Microsoft Publisher: Publisher cannot save the file.

They can still create PDF files as long as I uncheck the "PDF/A compliant" checkbox but obviously, that's not what I want.

My OS: Windows 10 v1909

Things that I have tried:

  1. Using different user accounts
  2. Reinstalling Office (including repairing, quick-repairing, deep-repairing, uninstalling+downloading+reinstalling, wipe-and-loading ... and whatever variation you can think of. I've done them all, both manually and using Microsoft's tool.)
  3. Repairing Windows using DISM and SFC (no violations was found)
  4. Running Process Monitor. It appears the problem has something to do with "sRGB Color Space Profile.icm".

I've made an astounding discovery. If "sRGB Color Space Profile.icm" is present in the same folder in which I try to export my PDF/A, the first export attempt fails, but all subsequent attempts to export that certain document to PDF/A, regardless of the export location, succeeds. In other words, if I try to export "Doc1.docx" to "D:\Doc1.pdf" and "D:\sRGB Color Space Profile.icm" exists, Microsoft Word returns an error message, but after that, I can successfully export to "D:\Doc1.pdf" or "E:\Wherever\I\want\whatever_name_I_want.pdf".


Issue resolved! 😊

After hours of studying Process Monitor reports on two different computers and comparing them, I discovered that Microsoft Office apps look for "sRGB Color Space Profile.icm" in the wrong place and don't find it. By deleting the following Registry values, the problem goes away:

  • Path: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ICM\RegisteredProfiles
    • Value name: sRGB
  • Path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ICM\RegisteredProfiles
    • Value name: sRGB

For the record, these values are all okay. There is nothing wrong with them. (The Color Management applet in the Windows Control Panel creates them.) The blame is entirely on Microsoft Office, i.e. this is a bug.

Ladies and gentlemen (@marjiiee.g, @Jeganarayanan, @Stefan Blom and @Palcouk), thanks for sticking with me so far. Enjoy your holidays.

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Question Info

Last updated July 14, 2021 Views 1,710 Applies to: